With growth comes growing pains and Subaru dealers may struggle to get your Subaru serviced in a timely manner. According to a report by Automotive News, because Subaru of America has been selling record numbers of Outbacks, Foresters and Crosstreks they may struggle with servicing your vehicle.
Because Subaru of America has been growing so quickly over the past decade, their dealer network may not have the service department capacity to handle the increased volume as more customers need to service their newer Subaru vehicles.
CEO Tom Doll told Automotive News. "We're continuing to work with our retailers on ways that they can enhance their capacity, whether it's adding lifts or bays or facility expansions, that in many cases are necessary. If we're not able to service the vehicles that we've already sold, eventually it's going to put a cap on new car sales”
Subaru planned for the growth but is it enough?
Subaru saw this issue coming and Subaru dealers in the U.S. have been receiving large incentives from parent company Subaru Corporation to expand and renovate their service-shop capacity in a program called Fixed Operations Expansion, or FOX. The program started in late 2013, and around two-thirds of its U.S. dealerships used the money to expand their service-shop capacity.
Many dealers outgrew their facilities, and the expansion was vital to keep new Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, Impreza, WRX/STI, BRZ, and Legacy customers happy and coming back. But it still may not be enough because Subaru is introducing the new 2019 Ascent 3-Row family hauler.
The 2019 Ascent arrives at showrooms this month and is expected to help fuel the brand's sales growth, even more, this year. The all-new fifth-generation Forester is also coming this fall and is expected to bring more new buyers to the brand.
What should Subaru customers expect? Subaru dealers in the U.S. will be experiencing heavy volume in their service departments and customers could experience longer waiting times. Tom Doll went on to say, “For the next few years, (Subaru dealerships) are going to see increasing repair order accounts and so forth. Because the vehicles that are in warranty or customers that are coming back for repair or maintenance work are now going to be coming back for those types of services that the retailer would be providing.”
Subaru of America is looking for other options to develop new programs that will help their dealers expand their service departments. With the all-new 2019 Subaru Ascent arriving this month and redesigned 2019 Forester this fall, customers can expect longer waits to get their new vehicle serviced.
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Photo credit: New 2019 Ascent Subaru USA